GDC 2010: Windows Phone 7 will be a managed code platform
No native support planned
Ron Pessner, general manager, Xbox Live mobile was firm however that the entire platform was build around XNA Game Studio which used the C# managed code system.
"We think there are a lot of benefits to managed code," he explained.
"I know some developers have been concerned about this, but working with studios to create our game demos, we've found they take an interesting journey where they find they can focus much more on game design, gameplay and productivity. They lose their skepticism about managed code."
Productivity not performance
Indeed, the entire Windows Phone 7 platform has been built from the ground up on the foundation of developers using XNA Game Studio, Silverlight and C#.
"We've designed the new Direct3D API [just introduced in XNA 4.0 Game Studio] in terms of managed code. Everything has been optimised for game development," said Michael Klucher, program manager for the XNA community game platform.
"To-date, the performance feedback we've received from developers has been excellent."
Partly this is because the Windows Phone 7 platform is a break from the previous Windows Mobile OS, and requires high-end specifications in terms of the hardware it will run on, making the performance bump you would get with native code less of an issue.
Also, Microsoft is keen to encourage developers already experienced using XNA for Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox 360 and PC to extend their games into the mobile world.
In this context, fast prototyping and fast development, and connected games across those platforms is considered more important that wringing every processor cycle out of the hardware.